INFORMATION FOR CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD HOLDERS
This section of the website has information for credit and debit card holders.
APACS TRANSACTION PROCESS GUIDE
Apacs have released a guide for consumers outlining the card transaction process. The guide also contains the top ten tips for holders of credit and debit cards.
Apacs guide to the card transaction process (PDF - 150K)
ADVICE FOR SAFE CARD USE ONLINE AND ONLINE BANKING
You should take the following steps to protect yourself from all types of card fraud and to bank online securely
- Don't hand over valuable card or bank account information to the fraudster. Fraudsters target cards and card details so try not to let them out of your sight.
- Don't give away your PINs or bank passwords to cold callers or in response to unsolicited phone calls or e-mails (known as phishing scams).
- Never write down your PIN and keep it with your card.
- Keep your cards and card details safe in the real world. Most internet, phone and mail order fraud happens because card details are stolen in the real world, so keep them safe at all times. Despite chip and PIN you will still have a signature strip on your card and you should always sign the back of your card.
- Always check your statements. Check statements as soon as you receive them. If you find a transaction on your statement that you did not make, contact your bank or card company immediately. Tear up, or preferably shred, any documents that contain information relating to your financial affairs.
- Sign up whenever you are given the option whilst shopping online to Verified by Visa www.visaeurope.com or MasterCard SecureCode www.mastercard.co.uk. Increasingly when you go to pay online with your card you will be given the option of signing up to these schemes that involve you using a password. By signing up you will prevent a fraudster using your card details on participating sites as they will not know your password.
- Online shopping: Only shop at secure websites: ensure that the security icon - the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol - is showing in the bottom of your browser window before sending your card details. The beginning of the retailer's internet address will change from "http" to "https" when a purchase is made using a secure connection. Make sure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring: the safety options are not always activated by default when you install your computer. The most popular browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. Check that you're using a recent version - you can usually download the latest version from these browsers' websites.
- Only ever use a protected computer. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Visit www.getsafeonline.org for more information.
- See also www.banksafeonline.org.uk, www.identitytheft.org.uk and www.cardwatch.org.uk for further information.
ADVICE FOR CHIP AND PIN CARD HOLDERS AFTER FEBRUARY 14TH
The chip and pin programme has released information for cardholders following February 14th, In summary:
- Always try to carry at least one card to which you know your PIN
- If you don't know your PIN contact your card company
- You will have to have alternative means of payment with you if you don't remember your PIN after February 14th
- If you forget your pin and your card becomes locked visit a cashpoint to unlock it if you subsequently remember your pin or contact your card issuer
Full advice document to cardholders (PDF - 345K)
CHOOSING AND REMEMBERING YOUR PIN
There are many methods suggested for choosing and remembering your PIN. You may find one or more of these helpful:
- Remember the pattern that your finger traces when keying in your PIN
- Remember a birthdate or other date and use the day/month, day/year, month/year etc as your PIN. This shouldn't be a date easily connected with yourself e.g. your own birthday.
- Use the first four of last four digits of a memorable phone number. Again ensure it isn't easily connected to yourself i.e your own phone number.
- Make up a phrase and use the number of letters from each word as the pin e.g. I eat blue cheese = 1346
- Split the PIN into two and remember the individual parts e.g. 6845 = 68 and 45.
- To help you remember - Use the same PIN that you use on another card
- To help you remember - say your PIN aloud to yourself many times
- To help you remember - write your PIN down many times on a piece of paper. Remember to securely dispose of the piece of paper afterwards
- REMEMBER - DON'T USE NUMBERS EASILY CONNECTED TO YOURSELF E.G. BIRTHDATE, HOUSE NUMBER; DON'T WRITE YOUR PIN DOWN AND DON'T USE EASY NUMBERS, DATES OR SEQUENCES E.G. 1234, 7777, 1066
USING CARDS THAT ARE NOT PIN ENABLED
You can use your curent magnetic swipe or chip and signature card in all establishements regardless of whether they have chip and pin equipment or not. This applies if you do not have a PIN enabled card due to the fact that you are unable to use PIN functionality or just that your bank has yet to send you a replacement card. You will verify the transaction just as you have always done with your signature.
MERCHANTS WHO SAY THEY HAVE NOT DEBITED MY CARD BUT MY AVAILABLE CREDIT/BALANCE HAS GONE DOWN
There are in most cases two stages to a card transaction - the first is gaining authorisation from the bank for the transaction on the card for the amount specified. The second is the submission of these authorised transactions to the bank for settlement. At the time that your card is authorised your available limit is reduced. For customer present transactions this is when you first tender your card. The retailer may then reject this transaction after authorisation for example if your signature does not match. In these circumstances your available limit will remain reduced and will automatically be increased again in a few days once the bank determines that funds against the authorisation code are not being taken.
A similar thing happens and is more likely when the company debiting your card uses Address Verification System checks and Card Security Code checks. These are the equivalent of a signature check on customer present transactions. The transaction is authorised by the bank (thus reducing your available credit) regardless of whether the address or card security code matches - but information on the outcome of these checks is passed back to the retailer who may then decide not to proceed with the transaction. Again your available cerdit will increase again in a few days time when the bank does not received the request for funds. This is the way the system has been implemented by the banks and is not in the Retailer's or the software or our control. If this causes you a specific problem on a particular transaction then the only thing that can be done is for you to contact your card issuer.